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August 14, 2013

No real battle at safety because injuries, absences but Will Allen's strong play has provided comfort

The Cowboys entered training camp hoping to see if rookie J.J. Wilcox and second-year man Matt Johnson could develop enough to compete with veteran Will Allen for the starting spot at free safety.

Wilcox, who has been up and down, has missed the last week because of his mothers death and will miss the preseason game against the Cardinals Saturday. Johnson, who missed all of season with injuries, has been out the last two weeks with a stress reaction in his ankle. There is no timetable on his return.

It has all left Allen unchallenged for the starting spot next to strong safety Barry Church. Though he got the job by default, Allen's presence has been a boon to the secondary. He has played well but he also stepped in as leader on defense.

So while the Cowboys may be disappointed in lack of competition at safety, Allen's strong play has allowed them to be comfortable with outcome.

"Absolutely. And that’s why we brought him in here," coach Jason Garrett said. "He’s a veteran player. Our coaches have been around him. We know what he’s all about. He’s providing some veteran presence. He’s playing well both on defense, he’s been a very good special teams player and he has a real positive impact on our team."

Clarence Hill 

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